How a heart attack happens

If a plaque inside a blood vessel ruptures, the body tries to repair the tear by forming a blood clot. A heart attack occurs when a clot blocks an artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the heart (coronary artery). This damages the heart.

Picture of plaque rupture and clot formation in a coronary artery
Picture of damage to the heart from a heart attack

Last Updated: May 5, 2009

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology

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